Thursday, May 08, 2008

Unchristian Introduction

This is a series of lessons based on the book called "Unchristian" by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. This is an excellent book that is a MUST READ for all Christians. But more importantly I believe that it is imperative for us to prepare our students to engage in these conversations in order to help break some of these negative stereotypes. Here are the outlines to my class discussions.

UNchristian: Introduction

Introduction Questions on Chapter 1

The Backstory Understanding Outsiders

A. What are the words that come to your mind when I say words like: mother, father,
pastor, teacher, politician, president, Christian?

B. Using the Bible as a reference, how would you define how a Christian ought
to be perceived by others? Take a look at Gal. 5:19-26; 1 Timothy 4:12; Col.
4:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:13-16.

C. Do you know any “outsiders”? Would you consider them to be friends? What
do you think their perceptions are of Christianity?

D. Make a list of ways in which these perceptions might have been developed.

E. How does the Bible teach Christians to behave toward outsiders? If the Bible
describes your life as an “open letter” (2 Cor. 3:2-3), what does it say about
the God you serve?

Agree or Disagree

“Our research shows that many of those outside of Christianity, especially younger adults, have little trust in the Christian faith, and esteem for the lifestyle of Christ followers is quickly fading among outsiders. They admit their emotional and intellectual barriers go up when they are around Christians, and they reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians.”

“The Title of this book, Unchristian, reflects outsiders’ most common reaction to the faith: they think Christians mo longer represent what Jesus had in mind, that Christianity in our society is not what it was meant to be. . . They admit they have a hard time actually seeing Jesus because of all the negative baggage that now surrounds him. . . . Christianity has become marketed and streamlined into a juggernaut of fear mongering that has lost its own heart.”

“One quarter of outsiders say that their foremost perception of Christianity is that the faith has changed for the worse. It has gotten off track and is not what Christ intended. Modern-day Christianity no longer seems Christian.”

“We heard many young believers say that in some circumstances they are reluctant to admit they are Christians. They don’t fear being unpopular, but they feel that raising the Christian flag would actually undermine their ability to connect with people and to maintain credibility with them. This is a major indictment of unchristian faith, that to bring those around them to Christ, they must distance themselves from the current “branding” of Christianity.”

So do perceptions matter? YES!
1. People respond on the basis of perceptions
2. These perceptions might make us more objective about ourselves.
3. Perceptions can change
4. Perceptions are framed most often through personal stories and experiences.

Some of the first century Christians were thought of as polygamist cannibals! It took some explaining to shift that perception.

Slide show: Preview where we are going for the next several weeks

Do any of these topics jump out at you? Which one are you looking forward to?

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